Paul Brian Campbell, S.J.
Today’s Gospel is from the first of five discourses about mission that are a unique feature of Matthew’s Gospel. Today, we hear about the selection of the Twelve and it will be followed tomorrow by their specific commission to go out and act in the name of Jesus. Jesus gave power to his chosen ones to confront demons and unclean spirits and to summon people into a healthy relationship with God and the community. This is the work of the Kingdom.
Biblical scholars are divided as to whether the term “Apostle” came from the time of Jesus or whether it came about, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, after the Resurrection. It’s clear, however, that Jesus chose Twelve individuals and that they were sent in his name. These Twelve were selected to represent the renewed 12 tribes of Israel.
To say that each had a distinct personality and outlook would be an understatement. Think of Matthew, the tax collector associated with the Roman authorities, or Simon who was called the zealot, Judas who kept the money, and Peter the brash fisherman. Despite the diversity of their backgrounds and experience, however, they became united in the service of God’s Kingdom.
By our Baptism and Confirmation, each one of us is called and chosen by God to be ambassadors of the Kingdom. We, too, are charged with doing the work of the Kingdom, proclaiming the Good News to everyone we encounter. As St. Teresa of Avila reminds us, “Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which he looks compassion on this world.”